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Posts Tagged ‘Marketing and Consumer Behavior’

Rhyming for a Reason: Why Rhyming Slogans are More Effective in Communicating Big Ideas

November 26th, 2019 2 comments

If you’ve been to a college, or interacted with a college student, you know how demanding the academic requirements are. Would you believe me if I said, “C’s get diplomas”? Sure. That makes sense, after a minute of thinking… But what if I had said, “C’s get degrees”? Boom. Got it. You’ve probably heard that one before, and there’s a reason why. The second statement comes across as more true than the first even though both convey the same message. This experience is called the Rhyme as Reason effect.

The Rhyme as Reason Effect (also called the Eaton-Rosen Effect) is the phenomenon that occurs

“A drunk mind speaks a sober heart” — Jean-Jaques Rousseau

when a person believes that a saying is more accurate when it rhymes. By contrast, a saying that means the same thing but does not rhyme is judged as less accurate. For example, the saying “What sobriety conceals, alcohol reveals” is judged as more accurate than “What sobriety hides, alcohol reveals” or “What sobriety conceals, alcohol shows.” So now you may be asking, why does this happen? Is it just because rhyming phrases are more fun to say, or is something else going on? Let’s think about this.

 

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This is the best blog post, this is the best blog post, this is the best blog post…

November 26th, 2019 1 comment

 

Read it and weep, Wakefield

In 1998, Andrew Wakefield caused quite a stir in the public health realm after he published a dubious study in a renowned medical journal that suggested the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine was linked to the development of autism (Rao and Andrade, 2011). This study terrified parents and, consequently, led to a sharp decline in MMR vaccination rates among children. Shortly after Wakefield’s article was published, numerous scientific studies were conducted that refuted and disproved Wakefield’s fictitious claims. However, it took 12 whole years for the medical journal, the Lancet, to issue a formal retraction of Wakefield’s article on the grounds of deliberate fraud (Rao and Andrade, 2011). In the meantime, as a result of decreased vaccination rates, the measles came back in full force during 2008 and 2009 plaguing the UK, United States, and Canada (Rao and Andrade, 2011). How could such an unfounded claim inspire so much mistrust in vaccinations even after people became aware of the copious refutation studies, the formal retraction, and the fact that Andrew Wakefield lost his medical license over his erroneous declaration? Good question. The culprit in perpetuating the belief in this false claim was repetition.

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I TOTALLY needed that $99 pair of light-up, pizza-alien sneakers…

November 25th, 2019 No comments

The $99 pair of light-up pizza, alien shoes that we all TOTALLY need (source)

Amazon Prime one-click ordering is dangerous territory. Bacon-patterned duct-tape? A ten-pound bag of gummy bears? A pool floaty shaped like a dinosaur? The only thing standing between you and these extremely valuable purchases is 1-click (and free 2-day delivery, of course). But you needed that $99 pair of light-up pizza-alien sneakers– your purchase was entirely justified. Even though you already have 5 other pairs of sneakers, your life would not be complete without this specific pair. Let’s be real, every person (including you) has impulsively bought something and then spent the rest of the day validating or rationalizing your decision. Well, that urge to justify your purchase is a real psychological phenomenon named Post-Purchase Rationalization, or the idea that people tend to justify and defend the purchases they make even if the purchase was impulsive, misguided, inadequate or so on. 

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The Real Reason We Like Subpar Art (and other self-creations)

November 23rd, 2019 No comments

I want you to think of the furniture in your house. There is the bedroom furniture set or the kitchen chairs or the family room couch or even the framed photos in the hallway. But, you know that self-constructed bookshelf, the one that is a little lopsided but “has character”? Or what about the barely-functional pinch pots you made in summer camp? If you are anything like me, you have held these items in your grips for years and can’t just throw them away. You built those things! Your blood, sweat, and tears (ok maybe that’s a stretch…) went into creating something and you like them. You like them maybe even more than store bought things. You are willing to pay more for something handmade. But should you? This trap you are falling into is so quirkily named the IKEA effect (yes after the Swedish furniture brand). This concept describes the tendency for people to overvalue products that they themselves created, even more than machine manufactured products. So yes, that handmade ornament by little cousin Johnny WILL remain on the Christmas tree for years to come, despite the poor craftsmanship!

What is valued does not always hold the highest value!

This effect was originally coined in the field of Consumer Psychology to describe cognitive processes that underlie consumer behavior. A study that first proposed the term described the tendency for people to overvalue their own creations. This effect does not just rely on objective value of the products either; IKEA boxes of the same caliber are rated as worth more money if they are self-assembled (Norton, Mochon, & Ariely, 2012) and so are origami structures and LEGO buildings (Norton, Mochon, & Ariely, 2012). Products themselves clearly hold intrinsic value to those beholding them, but other subjective factors are contributing to filling the gap between objective value and customer value. This is crazy! It seems like we are not consciously in control of our judgments on objects! Yikes!

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Hop on the Bandwagon…. or Don’t!

April 26th, 2018 2 comments

Would you ever jump off a bridge because everyone else is? Have you ever bought a product because “everyone” has it and you feel left out? If so, you have fallen into the trap of the bandwagon effect. This cognitive bias is defined as  people’s tendencies to quickly conform to popular trends or beliefs within their society (Simon, 1954). This cognitive bias is one that is frequently seen within everyday behaviors. Whether it is seen in social media, advertisements, politics, fashion, or any other trends, people are always trying to jump on this metaphorical bandwagon. One question about why people choose to conform, even if it is not in line with their own personal values or opinions, can be partially answered by the bandwagon effect. Conforming to social norms is something that the Millennial generation has continued to do as a result of pressures from prior generations.

Bandwagon Effect Meme

Although the bias was proposed in 1954, nowadays, the constant pressures to always be up to date with the different trends will only continue to grow as social media continues to take over our lives. The recent creation of social media and other forms of communication only help such cognitive biases flourish. The image to the right is a meme that is mocking the bandwagon effect. Nowadays, people’s eating habits are changing purely because things like “not eating gluten” are cool. People are ignoring actual evidence about different product’s true purposes, and hopping on the bandwagon. People’s desires to consume, buy, and use certain products are not always influenced by the product’s usefulness, but rather by what trend setters are doing. For example, extraneous items that are not necessities of life, such as iPhones, are typically bought based on consumer reviews. Think about things you have purchased in the past. Can you think of any good examples of products you bought because it was advertised as, “everyone’s favorite,” or “America’s best?”

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Sure, I can afford it: The cognitive principles behind mental accounting

April 17th, 2017 3 comments

imgflip.com/memegenerator

I could really go for a burger and milkshake right now.  It’s the end of the month; rent has been paid, my student loan contribution is accounted for, and I’ve maxed out my self-imposed monthly restaurant allowance. It looks like I’m out of luck.  But, after some quick mental math, I realize that I spent $10 less than expected on groceries this month.  Score!  It’s burger time. We’ve all done this: designating money for specific purposes, guesstimating how much we’ve spent, and mentally moving money around when convenient.  These behaviors, among others, are what psychologist Richard Thaler (1985) calls “mental accounting.”  Mental accounting is the process of creating mental representations (meaningful mental images) of money based on its form, how it was acquired, and how you intend to use it.  Indeed, there was nothing concrete about my monthly restaurant allowance or grocery budget.  They were simply my personal mental accounts.  In other words, mental accounting helps us organize our spending behaviors.  It’s not just about budgeting, though.  Categorizing money for one purpose or another can help us restrict our purchases, or, like my decision to buy the burger and milkshake demonstrated, justify moving money around our mental accounts.

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One Item, Two Prices: How the Endowment Effect Can Explain Different Valuations of the Same Object

April 17th, 2017 No comments

If you are not aware of the United Airlines disaster/debacle/controversy/blunder (take

Figure 1: United Airlines aircraft

your pick), I would highly recommend familiarizing yourself. However, to save you some time, I will provide you with a short recap of what happened. On April 11, 2017 United Airlines had over booked a flight from Chicago to Louisville and needed to make room for four members of the flight crew. You can probably guess where this is going –  an overbooked flight with four additional seats needed means that four passengers have to change to a later flight (math!). No one wanted to volunteer to give up their seat, so United Airlines bumped four passengers who were already seated from this flight. For whatever reason, one man really did not want to give up his seat that he had already paid for. Thus, United Airlines underwent an “involuntary de-boarding situation” and thought that it would be a good idea to physically remove this man while he was kicking and screaming. Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for United Airlines, this incident was caught by many people on video and then posted to social media. If you’re curious about what United Airlines missed and how they could have potentially avoided the bad PR they incurred after the event, you should continue reading.
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IKEA: Furniture Company or Masterful Manipulators?

April 16th, 2017 2 comments

www.riskology.co

You wake up one day with the urge to build something—let’s say it’s a chair for your kitchen table. You print the instructions from online, go to the hardware store to get supplies, and then you set up shop in the garage, ready to build your masterpiece. It already seems like quite an undertaking, doesn’t it? And that’s before you realize that you will make a cut too short, need more wood, and all of a sudden the project is going to take twice as long as expected. So, as you stand there in the garage amidst your frustration, you might ask yourself…why the heck am I doing this? Well, I have good news for you. Wood-working enthusiast or not, thanks to the IKEA effect, you’re going to love that chair far more than the one you saw last week at Bob’s Discount Furniture.

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Hop on the Bandwagon: Examining the Cognitive Processes Behind Why You Simply MUST Have That

http://www.honeywerehome.com

Walking around Colby College campus on a rainy day, one often sees a  dizzying number of Hunter rain boots and Timberland boots. It seems that everyone is wearing the same style of boots. Why are these boots so popular? Who started wearing them? Why are these boots everywhere? In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell examines social epidemics, such as fashion trends and smoking, and the moment they take off. It’s an excellent read that strives to explain how seemingly sudden social epidemics start and are sustained. While Gladwell never explicitly uses the term ‘bandwagon effect’, his case studies in the book concerning fashion trends hint at this phenomenon.

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Are you falling victim to the bandwagon effect?

April 5th, 2017 2 comments

Do you ever find yourself wondering what clothing to buy? What TV series or movie to watch? Or even where to eat? These are common dilemmas all of us run into on a daily basis. If you selected the movie or item that had the most stars or likes attributed to it or the majority of people chose it previously, then you may be falling victim to ‘the bandwagon effect’.

The ultimate decision – which one do you choose and why?

Everyday people are making decisions of various levels of importance, however few stop to seriously analyse and understand the underlying cognitive processes involved. Often decisions are influenced by a phenomenon called the ‘bandwagon effect’ whether this occurs consciously or unconsciously. Bandwagon effect is the idea that people align with or follow the opinions, beliefs and/or actions the majority of the population follows. An example of this phenomenon is illustrated in a study conducted by Sundar, Knobloch-Westerwick and Hastall (2007). When people were given a choice between reading an article recommended by a journalist, website or by crowd support, people were more inclined to choose the crowd option. This is despite the journalist being an acknowledged expert in the particular field. 

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